Why don’t more people take the WK2 overlanding?

Thedonnellm

New member
Hello! New guy here, just registered, but I’ve been reading the forums for years. I’m looking at getting back into a 4wd vehicle, having owned land rovers and Toyotas in the past, but had a lapse of reasoning and purchased a Mustang GT after my 2010 Tundra blew its engine for no apparent reason at a mere 62,000 miles.

Anyways, fast forward 4 years and 65k miles in my GT and I’m ready to get back off the beaten path. As I said before, I owned a slew of Toyotas, my favorite being a 2003 4Runner limited 4wd with OME suspension, 1” body lift, and Goodyear MT/R K’s in the 33” variety on MTX Artillery wheels. In the search for a new vehicle I naturally started looking at the newer fifth gen 4Runners and found I was still disappointed in their looks and equipment, not to say they aren’t extremely capable, they just lack the refinement I had in my 2003 and have since become accustomed to. So then my search turned to JKU’s, but again I found them lacking in comfort and, most importantly, fuel economy and towing ability. So my search quickly veered off into 2014+ WK2’s with the 3.0 ecodiesel. Long story short on that, used they are over priced, questionable reliability, and not available new. I then turned my attention, yet again stay with me here I’m almost to the point, to the 2017-2018 Trailhawk trim. They have everything I’m looking for equipment and capability wise with the 5.7 Hemi and luxury package.

Which brings me to my question, as great as the vehicle seems on paper, why aren’t more people using these things like they are 4Runners? Is there some reliability or capability issue I’m overlooking? Are they too pretty or expensive to be spending 2 weeks in the back country with?

Sorry for the long post, but I look forward to reading everyone’s replies!


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paroxysym

Adventurer
Is there some reliability or capability issue I'm overlooking? Are they too pretty or expensive to be spending 2 weeks in the back country with?
This.

ive honestly only seen a few actually wheeled, even less turned into actual overlanders- with the exception of one on here, which is a great example of turning a OEM trailhawk into a nice overlander while keeping the stock suspension. I think its definitely a reliability issue, along with the cost to fix the damn things when something breaks. I know the air suspension on the WK2 overland model sucked for the first couple years, the repair cost were insane. I know the reliability has improved on the system in the last couple years but its still in the back of every owners mind, just browsing some jeep forums youll see that most shy away from it due to its reliability. Plus in my opinion jeep straying from their SFA to IFS- just doesn't rub some right.

for me personally, I have a WK1- I haven't wheeled it heavily, very lightly. shes a pavement pounder. ive been asked several times to take it out wheeling and the damn IFS just has me alittle skidding on taking it out. granted she has 191k on her and I have gone over the entire front end and replaced virtually everything over the years ive owned her, just still alittle leary on taking it out. now if I had my old XJ or TJ, id be out there wheeling once a month... but these damn newer grand Cherokees have so much electronic BS and various systems on it- one failing and leaving you stranded just seems very likely.
 

Mitch502

Explorer
I think it's just the price/market for a WK....a new WK is what? 65Kish if optioned well? You c fan get a Rubicon for that probably and still have money to do few things (or more than a few things) and have a completely built overland vehicle.

Personally, I'm a HUGE fan of comfort...however, if you asked me which I would get, I'd say a JKR/JKUR over a WK2 if it were going to be off road much. A WK isn't marketed to the guys/gals who want to go out and advernture, they're marketed towards the people who want comfort and 4WD, coupled with the JEEP name.
 

MOguy

Explorer
I know I will take a beating for this.

The only true off-raod vehicle Jeep makes now is the Wrangler. The others are 4wd and would probably work great of most overlanding but if you want to "upgrade" and make a true off-raod vehicle and you want a new one from Jeep, the Wrangler is what you want. Otherwise look elsewhere.
 
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DogCatcher

New member
I feel like it is probably something to do with the price - a lot of people aren't going to be willing to potentially smash up something they're still making payments on...

My wife and I have a 2014 Limited. It has some JK 17" wheels on it with tires that are slightly taller than factory. With the 8-speed auto, it gets great highway economy, so it is a fantastic cruiser. The factory tires were a joke , but that is easily fixed. I'd say with a little investment in some armor (rock rails, skid plates) and some decent tires, I'd be willing to get adventurous with it.

I felt more comfortable driving our old WJ off the pavement... it had little to do with the solid axels and more to do with the fact that we payed significantly less for it.
 

Thedonnellm

New member
I see guys out in brand new $50k rubicons all day long so I can’t really see price being that big of an issue.

As for the air suspension, that’s not stopping Land Rover owners from wheeling their rigs. And I’ve never heard of a failure from a WK2 air spring caused or happening while off road.

I’m leaning towards more of a perception issue than anything else. The typical WK2 buyer simply isn’t the overlanding type.


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Charles R

Adventurer
I think it's a perception of reliability problem. I feel that, dollar for dollar, jeep still packs more off-road capability than the offerings from the other players. "But they're jeep"...

For over landing... Do you really need more than this?


(I know it's a WK1, but I know a similar prepped WK2 would make it too)

For more than this, a wrangler is certainly a better choice to make... But the quadra drive and quadra lift combo is very, very capable.
 
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tarditi

Explorer
I came very close to trading in my 2015 JKUR for a 2018 WK2TH, but I just couldn't.
There is such a strong aftermarket and support community for the JK platform.
I already came from a "capable but not strongly supported" platform of a gen2 Nissan Xterra, and found it very frustrating.

I can't imagine a question to the forums asking about an issue, noise, or seeking recommendation and hearing the crickets...

Just my $.02
 

Thedonnellm

New member
I came very close to trading in my 2015 JKUR for a 2018 WK2TH, but I just couldn't.
There is such a strong aftermarket and support community for the JK platform.
I already came from a "capable but not strongly supported" platform of a gen2 Nissan Xterra, and found it very frustrating.

I can't imagine a question to the forums asking about an issue, noise, or seeking recommendation and hearing the crickets...

Just my $.02
That’s an excellent point. There’s practically zero aftermarket in the US for the WK2. Coming from vehicles that you could practically build from the ground up with aftermarket parts, the lack of available options is definitely something to consider.


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MOguy

Explorer
For me for even moderate off-roading I would really want a frame for recovery points and a winch. A unibody is fine for many things but not what I would chose for off roading.

Somebody brought up aftermarket support which is huge for Wranglers compared to other Jeeps.

Bumpers. If you wheel long enough you will drag or hit bumper. Even though the many new Wranglers have plastic bumpers there are more after market ones available for Wranglers then other jeeps.

The longer the wheel base the bigger your lift and tires you need to be to increase your break over, approach, departure angles if you don't want to drag and hit things. It is easier to fit bigger tires and more lift on a wrangler than a Grand. I have a TJ and did a belly up along with a lift. A belly up (tummy tuck) is a great mode to increase you break over angle. I think you can do that with the new Wranglers also but not with the Grands.

A grand is comfortably and has more storage room then a Wrangler, esp the 2 door. That is an issue you have to consider also.
 
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comptiger5000

Adventurer
Unibodies aren't much of an issue provided bumpers and recovery points are designed with that in mind. Look at the amount of stuff that's become available for the XJ / ZJ / WJ over time as they've gotten older and cheaper. Plenty of good parts out there.
 

kayadog

Adventurer
Yes-- you can get it as an option on Laredos along with skid plates and tow hooks and it's standard on all other models. You can also get very capable quadradrive (aggressive limited slip) and an air lift suspension as an option on higher end models. I am actually buying a used wk2 for my wife's car today. Used ones are significantly cheaper than JK's.
 

MOguy

Explorer
Unibodies aren't much of an issue provided bumpers and recovery points are designed with that in mind. Look at the amount of stuff that's become available for the XJ / ZJ / WJ over time as they've gotten older and cheaper. Plenty of good parts out there.
I don't find much for the newer Grands.
 

Charles R

Adventurer
A lack of aftermarket our forum support can be a challenge. But stuff is out there, and more will come as the platform gets older and cheaper. I saw tow hooks and skids from chief products, and a nice looking bumper from Uneek, from just a quick look at Google.
 
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